The summer is a great time to stockpile some serious training. I think the summer is perfect for accumulating miles, keeping your tempo speed up, gaining overall strength & flexibility, and most of all, having fun while running. I love training in the summer, I still have some training logs from the mid-90’s, when I was in high school and training for ski season during the summer. The summer was where I got a jumpstart on my competition, and it is where you can start laying the foundations towards achieving your goals in the spring. Remember how crazy and fun State meet was? If you want to be right in the middle of all that, you need to have a great summer of training.
I am not going to give you a day-by-day training plan, but I will be able to suggest some general guidelines that you can modify to fit your needs and your schedule for the summer, so you can go back to school in better shape than you left school in!
The first rule is each week you need to take at least one total rest day with no running at all, and one day where you do an easy 20 min jog. (Like we would do on Thursdays when we would jog to the pool and back.) Recovery is the most often overlooked phase of summer training. Do not neglect your sleep, your hydration and your nutrition. I repeat, do not overlook your sleep, hydration and nutrition.
So, that leaves 5 days a week of serious training. One of those days we will be organizing trips to Red Rocks. This is your serious speed and strength day, treat it like an interval day. This will be Tuesday, and we will be meeting at the Chaparral track at 8:30 to carpool over to Red Rocks. Make sure to bring a big bottle of water and a little bit of money in case we stop for Gatorades on the way home as well as your training shoes and an extra shirt. Don’t forget to eat a light breakfast beforehand! A banana, some oatmeal, something needs to be in your stomach for this workout. This is a “red” day, where you will go until you are exhausted, so be prepared!
One other day during the week should be tempo running. These can be intervals in a park, fartleks along a trail, anything where you pick up the pace just a little bit for 1.5 to 4 minutes. Remember, tempo running is not “all-out” (that’s what Red Rocks is for), it is just a slight uptick in speed. Don’t take a lot of recovery between these speed sessions; if you need a lot of rest, you were probably going too fast. Email me, and I can give you your paces for track tempo intervals. If you want to do one or two of these on the track to get a feel for it, that’s probably a good idea. But, don’t do all of your summer tempo work on the track, just do enough to get a feel for the pace. Most of your summer tempo work should be on trails, in parks, or on dirt roads.
The other three days are straight-up running days. One of those days should be a medium length day, one should be a long day, and the other should be a super-long day. Make sure you have a difference between the length of your long run days, but keep the pace appropriate. These are your long run days, not your race days. I usually try to do a creative run on my medium run days, that’s where you stop every five minutes to do some type of calisthenic, either push-ups, sit-ups, tricep dips on a bench, tuck jumps anything you can think of to get some general strength in. My long runs and my super-long runs are just that. Straight running, no stopping, at an easy pace.
And you already know this, but before all of those workouts, you should warm up with the form drills. After each workout, cool down with the lunge routine. I’m not a big proponent of strength in the gym in the summer, I think through Red Rocks, creative runs, and lunges, you can get all the running strength you need.
Let’s look a typical week, just to give you an idea of what your schedule might look like.
SUN: Super-Long Run (60 min)
MON: Day Off
TUE: Red Rocks
WED: Medium Run (30 min)
THU: Long Run (45 min)
FRI: Tempo Running
SAT: Active Rest (20 min)
Now, you won’t be running the same distances all throughout the summer. Or maybe you will start off with longer runs already. That’s fine, but make sure to progress appropriately. My guideline is, increase each run length (except the active rest day) by five minutes every two weeks. That will give you the stress you need to to keep up with your fitness level.
You can change this weekly schedule around to however you want, but look at a few principles. I never have two interval days back-to-back. I made sure you had a day off before the hardest day of the week. I also made sure that the runs were all of differing length. When you set your schedule, make sure you follow these rules. Summer is meant to be fun, not rigid and stressful. Set up your schedule to make sure you get the most fun and the most running in that you can.
One more thing. I strongly suggest keeping a training log. I have always kept one, and not only does it allow me to look back and learn from my experiences, but it also keeps me motivated. I now use an online training log, www.runkeeper.com. It’s free, and it really perfect for the type of training we do. Plus, it allows me as your coach, to keep track of what you are doing from afar so then we can make necessary adjustments if needed. It also allows me to motivate, communicate, cajole, and encourage, even if I am in Long Island, or Winter Park, or wherever I happen to be that week. Go check out that site, sign up (it’s free!), and allow me to be on your “street team”. Signing up for runkeeper, plus a watch and www.runningmap.com, (an online mapping program that allows me to see the length of my run in miles), is all you really need to maximize your efficiency this summer when it comes to your training. Isn’t technology amazing?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu said that hundreds of years ago, and it means you gotta start your training today, and keep running one day at a time. You will notice the difference by the time school starts, I promise, if you are diligent and consistent with your training. If you have any questions, please email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can,
EDIT: This post is a work in progress, check back often for more ideas, thoughts, comments and musings about summer training.